Waterfront beer garden, brewery planned in Milford
MILFORD — Friends Bob Chicoine and Dan Bagley are looking to bring “a slice of Nantucket” to the city, with plans for a waterfront biergarten — or beer garden -and craft brewery.
The project, moving now through the city and state review process, is slated for a nearly 3-acre parcel on the Housatonic River at 40-50 Bridgeport Ave., just over the Washington bridge from Stratford.
The biergarten would be located on the shore of the Housatonic.
“I’ve been wanting to do something down here for the last eight years,” said Bagley, who has owned the property for that long. “I love beer and I love boating,”
To make it financially feasible, Bagley has partnered with Chicoine, who has been to Germany at least 15 times for beer fests and always loved biergartens on the water best.
Chicoine, who is part owner of Engine 15 Brewing Downtown Tap Room and Biergarten in Jacksonville, Fla., said, “I always wanted to do a biergarten on the water.”
The partnership opportunity came up through a mutual friend who introduced the pair and it was so perfect that Chicoine says he, “took it that it was meant to be.”
The men have named the business Dockside Waterfront Biergarten and Brewery.
They plan to knock down a vacant house on the property to create a 112-space parking lot and will turn a former bait and tackle store, Village Marina (which re-located next door), into a craft brewery with a glass wall facing the Housatonic River that folds out for a fresh air . There will be two decks going toward the water and lots of outdoor seating.
Dockside will also serve pizza.
“Our aim is for Dockside to be more than just about beer. It will be a gathering place, a source of local identity and pride, and a means for local job creation, “ Chicoine said.
They also are redoing two docks out back and will rent boat slips, some of which are ready for rental this summer. Boaters interested in renting a slip this summer can contact Bagley at 203-913-3105.
“Dockside is going to be a place where folks can come and enjoy locally brewed craft beer, hang out on the waterfront, and enjoy a little slice of Nantucket right here in Milford,” Bagley said.
Bagley, who lives in Trumbull, but grew up in Milford, said it’s a perfect location — Long Island Sound is right around the corner, only 15 minutes away and all kinds of watercraft will be able to pull up.
If built, Dockside would offer the first biergarten in Milford.
“People love to be outside,” Chicoine said. But it won’t just be a place for adults to chill with a beer in the fresh air while looking at the Housatonic River.
The men want to make it a family friendly atmosphere, as well as a destination location for people out of state, such as Long Island and Rhode Island.
“I want to make it something with a family feel,” Bagley said. “A destination for families.”
Several Facebook reviews of Engine 15 Brewing Downtown Tap Room and Biergarten note its family friendly atmosphere.
Several city agencies have already approved the project, including Inland/Wetlands, police, fire, city engineer. The partners are awaiting approval from the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and hope to soon go before the Milford Planning and Zoning Board for site plan approval.
The men said that if approved, they will open in 2019.